WASHINGTON -- With David Perdue's ascent to the top of the polls in the Senate race comes additional scrutiny for his record and statements. Thus, a source passed along the above video of Perdue speaking in Bibb County in January about how his educational experience compares to former Secretary of State Karen Handel's:
"I mean, there's a high school graduate in this race, OK? I'm sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex. There's only one candidate in this race that's ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how -- what it takes to compete in the global economy?"
Handel left a broken home at 17, finished high school and went to work but never finished college. This issue came up during her 2010 campaign for governor, when there was talk about whether she only got a GED, which Handel vehemently disputed. Perdue holds undergraduate and master's degrees from Georgia Tech.
Asked this afternoon about Perdue's comments, campaign spokesman Derrick Dickey responded with this:
"David was simply making the case that he is the most qualified person in this race to help get our economy back on track so that we can start paying down the massive federal debt. His comment was based on facts that are a matter of public record."
After Tuesday's email exchange, Handel-Perdue could be an escalating fight.
UPDATE 5:48 p.m.: Handel campaign manager Corry Bliss responded via email:
“It is disappointing that David would demean someone who—by no fault of her own—moved out of an abusive home at age 17, and with her own hard work and determination, is the embodiment of the American Dream.
"Karen is an example of how, with great perseverance and sheer will, the circumstances under which you grow up do not dictate your ability to succeed.
"While David boasts about all the time he spent living in Europe and Asia, and all of the millions of dollars he intends to spend on this race, this election is about who conservatives can relate to and trust to get results in the United States Senate.”
Also worth noting: Georgia political leaders without a college degree include Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.
In addition, Jack Kingston lived out of the country as a child, in Ethiopia, according to a spokesman.